The AMICA Library
AMICA Library Year:
Asian; Anatolian; Byzantine
Egypt, Byzantine period, 4th Century
Satyr and Maenad from a Large Curtain
Creation Start Date:
Creation End Date:
Materials and Techniques:
Plain weave ground with tapestry weave; undyed linen and dyed wool
Overall: 138.1cm x 85.7cm
The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
the satyr is identified by an inscription above his head.
(Nicolas Koutoulakis, Conches-Geneva, Switzerland).
Satyrs and maenads were the followers of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility (known tothe Romans as Bacchus). Since he was the god of the grape harvest and wine was a basic commodity in the Roman world, his cult persisted into the 6th century, even in Christian areas like Egypt. Originally this satyr and maenad were part of a luxurious tapestry-woven depiction of a row of arches. Whether this costly curtain was commissioned for use in a cult setting or in a theater has not been determined. The satyr and maenad are depicted with haloes-a sign of distinction in pagan art. The vibrant colors, decorative architectural setting, and graceful figures testify to the weaver's skill and rank this tapestry among the crowning achievements of 4th-century Coptic textiles.
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